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Writing for children – a responsible task

Maya Kharangate has recently released two books for children ‘Parvatkanya Bachendri Pal’ and ‘Kaani Eka Babulyachi’. NT BUZZ speaks to her about her books

SACHI NAIK | NT BUZZ

Maya Kharangate is a known face in the world of children’s literature in Konkani. Her books ‘Parvatkanya Bachendri Pal’ and ‘Kaani Eka Babulyachi’ were released in September totalling up the number of her children books to 30.

‘Parvatkanya Bachendri Pal’ was assigned to her by the publishing company, Konkani Bhasha Mandal. The book speaks about the life and struggles of renowned mountaineer Bachendri Pal, the first woman of India to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

‘Kaani Eka Babulyachi’ is a collection of short stories published by the author through her publishing house Mohit Prakashan. She says that the recent trend in the children’s literature is to give a moral indirectly to the children. She adds: “The moral is not stressed on, or given in the form of advice; rather it is included in the story which is then picked up by the children. I have maintained this new trend in this book.”

There are a total of 12 stories in the book. These stories were published in a newspaper years ago; but Maya has modified them to suit the modern era. She has done this with the help she gathered from the many workshops conducted by Konkani Bhasha Mandal to keep writers up-to-date with the new writing trends. She mentions: “Today, we are asked not to hide anything from children. I have written my stories keeping it in mind.”

According to her, a writer who writes for children must know the psychology of their readers. Maya is a retired kindergarten teacher from the Vidya Bhuvan Konkani Shaala, and hence well-versed with a child’s psychology. Just as adults feel insulted and hurt, so do children. A writer must choose to write in a way that doesn’t insult or hurt children.

‘Eka Babulyachi Kaani’ is her first book printed in colour; this has raised the cost beyond double as compared to those of her older black-and-white books. “Parents often hesitate to buy a book of Rs100 but they will not mind buying a toy costlier than that. Parents are slowly getting educated and now-a-days they prefer to buy books despite the high prices. Children get attracted to colours and pictures, so they pick up the book,” she says.

Maya began writing stories for children when Rajhauns Publications pushed her to do so for their magazine. She says: “Our grandmother used to tell us stories when we were young. When my brother was young he wouldn’t like to listen to the same story repeatedly. So I would create new stories for him but never penned them down. It was only when Rajhauns Publications pushed me to write that I began writing stories for children.” Many stories take inspiration from the imagination of her students in kindergarten.

Some of her published books for children include: ‘Koledadachi Palakhi’, ‘Swami Vivekanand’ Galivarachi Bhovandi’, ‘Kama Purto Mama’, ‘Chouful’, ‘Ayodhyaayan’, ‘Ranachya Manaat’, ‘Haatimtai’, ‘Girgire’, ‘Kitkite’ and ‘Tarekwar Pana’.

As of now, Maya has a total of 42 books to her credit. It has been two years since she retired and she has decided to release one book every year. Her upcoming books for children will be based on the theme of saving the environment. She has also begun working on one mystery novel for children. Besides, she is also working on a book about medical conditions in children. “There are times when I start to write a novel or story, and a new topic comes to my mind that affects me so deeply that I cannot resist research on it. A writer also must not delay the topic that touches their heart and excites them to write. They must quickly start writing on it before the excitement levels drop down.”

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